By Kevin McCaskill Jr.
The UMass/Northeastern “home and home” contests this weekend end with both teams getting a victory. UMass won on Friday by 15. Northeastern separated from the Minutemen in the 2nd half and were able to maintain the lead until the final buzzer yesterday afternoon.
Tyson Walker led the Huskies with 20 points, 6 assists and 4 rebounds. Jason Strong contributed 16 points and 5 rebounds.
UMass was led by true Freshman Javohn Garcia in scoring with 18 points. He also had 3 assists, 4 rebounds and 3 steals. Noah Fernandes had 15 points, 1 assist, 5 rebounds. “TJ” Weeks had a good game off the bench with 14 points, 6 rebounds and 2 steals.
The two most notable UMass players, 2019-2020 A10 FoY Tre Mitchell and Senior Guard Carl Pierre, didn’t have good games yesterday.
T. Mitchell had 10 points on 3/10 from the field and 3 turnovers. Pierre had 6 points, going 2/7 from the field.
Pierre’s game wasn’t that concerning. I also like that he is driving to the basket more to start this season.
There is a potential flag 🚩 that I can see becoming a problem for this year’s UMass team.
🚩Fernandes and Garcia are “score-first” guards.
Going into this year, the offense, and the UMass program in general, was focused on Tre Mitchell. He was and is the best player on the team. TM isn’t a guard though, so he has to rely on his teammates to get him the ball, especially in the post.
Last season that wasn’t a problem.
Last season, there were 10 games where 1 or more starting Guards shot more than TM: [✅=win; ❌=loss]
11/16/19 - Cent CT @ UMass: TM - 6 FGA (17 min, 3 PF) ; Sean East - 10, Pierre - 9, Keon Clergeot - 8 (25+ mins each) ✅
11/20/19 - Rider @ UMass: TM - 5 FGA (22 min, 4 PF); East - 10; Pierre - 17 (34, 37 min each)✅
11/23/19 - UMass @ UVa: TM - 12 FGA (4 PF); Pierre - 14 (10 3FGA)❌
11/29/19 - UMass @ Rutgers: TM - 10 FGA (3 PF); Weeks - 13, Pierre - 12❌
12/4/19 - SC @ UMass: TM - 9 FGA (3 PF); Weeks - 16 (11 3FGA)❌
12/20/19 - UMass @ Akron: TM - 11 FGA (19 min, 4 PF); East - 21 FG, Pierre - 18 ❌
1/5/20 - UMass @ St Lou: TM - 15 FGA (3 PF); East - 22 ❌
1/18/20 - GW @ UMass: TM - 11 FGA; East - 14 ❌
1/22/20 - UMass @ GeoMas: TM - 11 FGA (25 min, 4 PF); Pierre- 13 ❌
2/9/20 - GeoMas @ UMass - TM - 10 FGA (27 min, 3 PF); Pierre - 12✅
UMass was 3-7 when a starting Guard had more FGA than TM. Most of those games, TM was in foul “trouble”.
The last 7 games of the 2019-2020 regular season, TM had the most FGA.
This year, that could be a problem 👀.
Both Garcia and Fernandes shot 11 times, while TM had 10 FGA 🤔 (TM did have 4 PF on Sunday).
TM relies on whoever is handling the ball, to get him the ball. If the new guards are shooting more, that could cause some confusion throughout the year as to who the offensive leader of the team is.
The HC of UMass 🏀* needs to firmly establish Tre Mitchell as the offensive leader this season. TM needs to touch the ball in the post on a majority of UMass’ offensive possessions this season.
If the HC lets his guards, specifically the PG, continue on the “shoot first” path, UMass won’t reach its full potential this year.
One last thing. The UMass HC has to find a way to get Dyondre Dominguez more involved in the offense when he is on the floor. 💡.
*The HC of UMass 🏀 is Matt McCall
(Cover photo via bustingbrackets.com